Wireless Midi

I am a ‘tinkerer’ and a musician of sorts. I play for fun. I’d LIKE to play for money but my skill level being what it is…. ah well! As well as my regular keyboard I have a ‘keytar’, actually a Roland Lucina that I play at gigs sometimes instead of the main keyboard. It’s a lot smaller and easier to carry for a start. I also built myself a rack unit some time ago to augment the both the keyboard and keytar sound.

One think I’ve always wanted to do with the keytar is set it up to use wireless so I could be ‘cable free since it can run from batteries. However commercial (and decent) wireless sound systems get pretty expensive and so does midi. But, me being a tinkerer, I got to wondering if I could create a wireless midi using (mostly) what I already had, mainly an iPad and an iPod!

First off I found a app called Midibridge that would connect various midi inputs and outputs to others in the same device, including a wireless midi connection to the same app on anther device!

So now I needed some hardware to get the midi from the keytar into the iPod and from the iPad out to the rack synth. Enter the iRig midi interface. I went for this one over others because it has a charging port as well so you can charge the iPod/iPad while it is in use.

For this to work I need a wireless network.  Now you might say that I cannot guarantee the presence of a wireless network anywhere but the thing is, you don’t need and actual internet connection for a wireless router to create a wireless network so the plan is to get a wireless router and set it up to create a private ‘non internet’ network where ever I am playing. Wireless routers have plenty of range too so I should not have to worry about that which will let me roam pretty freely with the keytar.

So far I have only tried this at home using my home network and a single iRig midi interface connected to an iPod to drive an app on the iPad but it seems to works fine with very little latency so this ‘might’ actually work (unusual for me!).

This shows how I plan to make all this work:


The iPad (or another iPod) and router will sit by the rack synth on the mains power supply. The iPod will sit in a pocket or something on the keytar strap and run off the internal batteries or some sort of battery powered external supply (I’m sure there are some out there).

Hiccups so far. My iPod is a 2nd generation one and the highest level of iOS you can install on there is 4.2.1. Seems the iRig (and other similar devices) need iOS 4.3 or higher (of course). It turns out the kid has a 4th gen iPod he is selling because he got an iPhone so I am buying that off him (actually he still owes me for the iPhone as I paid for it initially so I’m letting him off ‘some’ of the bill’).

I had some trouble getting the Midibridge software to see the wireless midi components on the iPod initially (the iPad was fine). Rebooting it fixed that though.


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